How to Make a Super-Simple Recycled Quiltcomments (37) October 4th, 2013
I love pretty vintage sheets, and this project is a great way to show them off. It's also a good, basic introduction to quilting-if you've never made a quilt before, I guarantee you can make this one.
What you'll need:
- Two sheets (see notes below)
- One blanket (see notes below)
- Large safety pins
- Sewing machine
- Coordinating thread
- Hand-sewing needle
- Tapestry needle with sharp point
- Thimble (optional)
- Sport- or worsted-weight yarn
Let's talk materials: When you're at the thrift store looking for supplies for this project, keep a few things in mind. First, your two sheets and blanket should all be roughly the same size-I used two twin sheets and a twin blanket. And be sure to check over all three pieces carefully for stains and rips. The blanket will be completely hidden, so it can be a little beat up, but the sheets should be in good shape.
In addition, the blanket you select for this project should be fairly thin. A cotton or wool blanket would work best, but you can also work with a fleece blanket, as I have here. The blanket can have a print on it, since it will be hidden. Just check your sheets to make sure the blanket won't show through them.
To get started, wash all three pieces and press the sheets. Then, clear a large floor space and lay the sheets out flat, right sides together. Line them up along one edge-I usually use the bottom edge. (The other edges may or may not match-twin sheets come in a variety of sizes. But don't worry about this for now.)
Now, place the blanket on top of the sheets. Line up one edge of the blanket about 2 inches away from the lined-up edge of the sheets.
This next step is the key to your success with this project: safety pins! One of the reasons a quilt project can seem challenging is its size-it's not easy wrangling all those large pieces of fabric. That's where safety pins come in-and lots of them.
Large safety pins are easiest to work with, but you can use smaller ones. Pin them through all three layers at roughly 3-inch intervals. Cover the entire surface of the blanket with safety pins, making sure that the blanket is lying flat as you pin.
Once the three layers are securely pinned together, you can move them around for cutting and sewing.
Trim the sheets and blanket to the same size on three sides. My blanket is a bit smaller than my sheets, so I trimmed the sheets to match it. If your sheets are smaller, you can trim the blanket to match them.
However, do not trim the fourth edge (the one pictured in the second step, where the blanket is 2 inches away from the edges of the sheet). We'll need that extra sheet material a bit later.
Machine-sew along the three trimmed edges using a 5/8-inch seam allowance. Do not sew the fourth edge. Keep a close eye on the placement of those safety pins as you're sewing, so you don't accidentally sew over one and damage your machine.
Trim the blanket close to the seam. This takes some bulk out of the seam so that the whole quilt can be turned right side out more cleanly.
In addition, cut diagonally across the seam allowances of the two corners.
One last step before we turn the quilt right side out: Press the seam allowances of the sheets open. (In this photo, the blanket is under the sheets.)
A note here: If you're using a fleece blanket, as I am, be careful about ironing directly on it. Some fleeces will melt in contact with a hot iron. Keep the iron on the sheets.
Remove all the safety pins and turn the quilt right side out. This will hide the blanket between the two sheets.
Turn under the raw edges of the sheets along the open end. Press these folded edges, then hand-sew them together. Don't worry about catching the edge of the blanket in this stitching; we'll take care of that in the next steps.
Flatten the quilt back out, making sure the blanket is lying flat inside the two sheets. Place safety pins at 4-inch intervals around the edges to help hold the blanket in place while you're working on the next step.
To finish off our quilt, we need to bind the three layers of fabric together all over. If you have a sewing machine that's suited for it, you can always machine-sew all over the surface of the quilt in any pattern that strikes your fancy. Here, however, we're going to use a simpler method called tie-quilting.
Thread some sport- or worsted-weight yarn onto a large-eyed needle with a sharp point. Take a small stitch through all three layers of the quilt, as shown. Make sure the needle passes all the way through the bottom sheet. You may find a thimble useful here.
Cut the yarn so you have two lengths of about 2 inches sticking up from the quilt, as shown.
Tie these two ends in a tight double-knot and trim them to about 1/2 inch. Repeat this process to place more ties all over the quilt.
Here's a view of the ties from the back of the quilt. You can place your ties in any configuration you like. Mine are in a grid pattern, with about 4 inches between ties. The main point is to spread the ties all over the quilt so that the blanket doesn't shift around inside the sheets.
You can be precise about the placement of the ties, measuring the distances between each one, but I find that since they're a fairly subtle part of the overall quilt design, it's easier to line them up visually.
Once your ties are in place, your quilt is ready to use! See, that wasn't so hard...
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